You never know when…you’ll be asked to moderate a panel. Surprised? Don’t be since your turn may come sooner than you expect. When it does, will you be ready?
Since establishing Profitable Speech in 1994 (part-time) and shifting to full-time in 2000, I’ve had the privilege of coaching many clients to develop their skills as a moderator. Last week a business group in which I regularly participate, asked me to moderate a panel discussion. Not only was I flattered but it was an excellent opportunity to apply what I’ve coached others to do. I did just that and it worked!
Here’s a sample of what I put into practice:
- Speak with the panel members in advance.
- Answer any questions the panelists have so they feel well-prepared.
- Edit the questions to be posed to the panelists so they have a logical sequence and are in vernacular that is written from the perspective of the audience.
- Keep the list of questions to a minimum vs. going overboard.
- Develop a captivating opening to kickoff the panel discussion.
- Maintain eye-contact with the audience to be aware of their needs.
- Monitor the time per question so as not to exceed allotment.
- Take notes on what panelists say so as to reinforce salient points when commenting.
- Interrupt panelists, as warranted, in order to clarify, refocus, or to address being longwinded.
- Close with a sense of urgency and a call to action.
Panel discussions can either be a waste of time or a breath of fresh air. We’ve all had experience with the former so let’s strive for the latter.
Serving as moderator is a tremendous professional opportunity, if done correctly. Let me know how I may assist you when you’re asked to serve as a moderator. The more you develop your skill set, the higher you’ll be rated.